27 August 2008

ePortfolio Requirement: Faculty Designed

As mentioned in a previous post, I have 3 requirements for ePortfolio: that it be web-based, faculty designed, and student maintained. This week I will address each of those aspects.

Faculty-designed portfolios provide opportunity to:

  • display student skills and competencies, reflecting course work that the faculty directed.
  • align ePortfolio elements with course outcomes and program outcomes.
  • align these student products with the goals or expectations of accrediting bodies.

When faculty identify course-embedded assessments (for example, to serve as measures of Student Learning Outcomes) these may also be incorporated in the student portfolio. The faculty can design the portfolio for evaluation during the semester that the assessment was made, or for evaluation at end of degree. In my experience, a faculty group is happiest when it plans for the "end" or exit portfolio reflecting an entire program (which in itself requires a lot of discussion and cooperation).

The most powerful web-based portfolio platforms support online evaluation, complete with rubric scoring and feedback mechanisms between student and faculty. In these systems, rubrics are typically created within the platform and faculty can share in this work.

While templates are available, customized rubrics produce the best results because evaluation results match a program's own outcomes. Results are thus diagnostic and a good portfolio platform includes reporting features that can even drill-down to a single rubric criterion.

A set of rubrics created by faculty can also reflect the language of the program. I've run across a great variety of terms that faculty use to describe unacceptable or weak efforts. Some programs use frank rubric ratings of unacceptable, unsatisfactory, not passing. Others take a gentler approach: novice, not yet appropriate, developing. When faculty consider the language for their rubrics, a pattern typically emerges and it will influence other curriculum decisions.

The faculty-designed portfolio leads naturally to a set of guidelines for their students. Built upon the cooperative design work, the guidelines reflect the collective voice of the faculty. That's a big advantage for a portfolio spanning an entire program.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology. She can be contacted at bold[AT]marybold.com using standard email format instead of [AT].

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